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Many Nye County and Pahrump town offices closed to public

It seems as if COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has infiltrated each and every part of daily life, with all attention focused squarely on containing the virus’ spread and “an abundance of caution” becoming the new catchphrase.

Closures and postponements have been coming thick and fast over the past week and the situation is no different in Nye County, where officials spent much of Monday sending out notices to the public announcing that a slew of Nye County and town of Pahrump offices have decided to shutter their doors to the general public. Those offices will, however, continue to serve the public in a remote fashion.

Just before 9 a.m. on Monday, March 16, Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly sent a press release by email detailing that the Nye County Recorder’s Office and the Nye County Assessor’s Office will no longer be accepting walk-ins at either the Tonopah or Pahrump offices. Those offices will now provide service to the public via email and phone.

The recorder’s office can be reached by email at recorder@co.nye.nv.us or by phone at 775-482-8116 for Tonopah and 775-751-6340 for Pahrump. The assessor’s office can be reached via email at assessor@co.nye.nv.us or by phone at 775-482-8174 for Tonopah and 775-751-7060 for Pahrump.

There was no definitive time line on when the recorder’s or assessor’s offices might reopen, with Knightly simply stating they would be closed, “… for the next few weeks out of an abundance of caution in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.”

By 9:42 a.m. on Monday, Knightly sent along another email providing a breakdown of several more offices that are prohibiting in-person visits by the public and the possibility of even more to come.

“The following county offices notified the county administration as of 9:30 a.m. that they have closed to public walk-ins but will maintain regular business by email, phone and electronic filings,” Knightly wrote, going on to list Nye County Administration, the Nye County Planning Department, Nye County Building and Safety, the Nye County Finance Department and Nye County Human Resources.

Nye County Administration can be reached at stackett@co.nye.nv.us or by phone at 775-482-8192 in Tonopah and 775-751-7075 in Pahrump.

Nye County Planning can be reached at bwaggoner@co.nye.nv.us or 775-751-4249.

Nye County Building and Safety can be reached at 775-751-3773. Links to email various staff members within the department can be found online at www.nyecounty.net

Nye County Finance can be reached at srrucker@co.nye.nv.us or 775-751-7091.

Nye County Human Resources can be reached at 775-482-7242 in Tonopah or 775-751-6301 in Pahrump.

“There may be more to come as the courts and clerk and others discuss what they can and can’t do legally,” Knightly stated at that time.

Only half an hour later at 10:17 a.m. Knightly sent yet another email with further updates on closures due to COVID-19. The town of Pahrump offices have closed, including town of Pahrump Administration and Business Licensing, the Pahrump Tourism Department, ambulance billing and the town finance office.

Pahrump Administration and Business Licensing can be reached at 775-727-5107, ext. 2.

Pahrump Tourism can be reached at 775-727-2820.

Pahrump ambulance billing can be reached at 775-727-5107, ext. 3 or 775-751-6383. Ambulance payments can also be made over the phone by calling 775-727-5107, ext. 3 or 775-727-2818.

Similar measures are also being taken in the northern part of the county, with Knightly including a statement from the town of Tonopah announcing that its offices and the offices of the area’s utility service provider, Tonopah Public Utilities, will be shut to the public as well.

“The town of Tonopah and Tonopah Public Utilities’ offices, out of an abundance of caution and consideration to the public and our employees, will be closed this week,” that statement read. “TPU payments can be made online at www.iwebms.net/tput or by calling 855-300-8636. You can also drop payments in the payment drop box located just outside the TPU door at 140 S. Main Street. There will be staff in the office and available for emergencies if necessary. Please call the town at 482-6336 or TPU at 482-6643. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers and appreciate your patience during this time.”

At roughly 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Knightly sent another statement when asked if Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Service would be initiating any closures of its own. “The Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue business office will be closed to the public but will remain operating in regard to emergency response and preparedness,” Knightly replied. “The PVFRS is suspending acquisition of burn permits, fire reports, station tours and other general questions at the front desk.”

As of 4:23 p.m. even the Pahrump Justice Court had taken action to limit contact with the public, with Pahrump Justices of the Peace Kent Jasperson and Lisa Chamlee issuing a formal court order altering how business will be conducted.

“The court proceedings have been suspended for 30 days to avoid mass gatherings of the public to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Pahrump Justice Court Administrator Alisa Shoults told the Pahrump Valley Times. “However, we are still conducting business via telephone at 775-751-7050 and internet email at pjc@pahrumpjusticecourt.com.”

Fifth Judicial District Court Judges Kim Wanker and Robert Lane also signed off on an administrative order that aims to limit public contact at this time. “Effective March 16, 2020, all current scheduled non-essential court hearings are ordered to be conducted by video or telephonic means; decided on the papers; or rescheduled unless otherwise directed by the assigned judge,” the order reads in part. “All jury trials, civil and criminal, scheduled in district court for the next 30 days will be suspended and will be rescheduled as the court calendar allows.”

Jury trials already underway will continue and essential case types and hearings will also continue.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the closure notices kept coming, with Knightly detailing that the Nye County Water District’s office is closed to walk-ins. Visit the water district’s website at www.nyecountywaterdistrict.net for more information.

Not every office in Nye County is locking its door to the public, however, with Knightly detailing, “The (Nye County) Treasurer’s Office will remain open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to serve our citizens.”

That does not mean the treasurer’s office is not concerned about the rapidly-spreading coronavirus. Knightly added that officials are encouraging residents to undertake any business they may have with the treasurer’s office remotely, if at all possible.

Knightly asked that those who need to utilize services through the treasurer’s office to consider other options for obtaining service, rather than dropping into the office. Information on property taxes can be found online at https://nyenv.devnetwedge.com/ payments can be made at that website. Payments can also be made with eCheck or credit card, although a fee will be charged by the payment vendor for all eCheck transactions.

Payments can also be mailed to the Nye County Treasurer, 170 N. Floyd Street, Suite 2, Pahrump, NV, 89060.

For anyone with questions for the treasurer’s office or who wishes to speak to a representative, call 775-751-4200 or email questions to treasurer@co.nye.nv.us

The Nye County Clerk’s Office will also remain open, although once again, Knightly encouraged residents to conduct as much business as possible by mail. The clerk’s office in Pahrump is located at 1520 E. Basin Avenue, Pahrump, NV, 89060. The Tonopah office is located at P.O. Box 1031, Tonopah, NV, 89049. The office can be reached at 775-751-7040 or 775-482-8172 or via email at smerlino@co.nye.nv.us

Offices are far from the only things being impacted by the coronavirus chaos, with events falling prey to COVID-19 as well. This included the Nye County Commission meeting that was scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday, March 17.

“On Monday 03/16/2020 slightly after 2 p.m., I, in my capacity as chairman of the board of Nye County commissioners, along with the county manager Tim Sutton and after discussion with several county department managers, made the decision to cancel Tuesday’s BoCC meeting. Under the president’s new guidelines about gatherings of 10 or more people, it seemed prudent to make this decision. We will keep you informed as to the date this agenda will be revisited. Please heed the guidelines issued by the CDC,” Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig said of the cancellation.

Knightly also emphasized that the county has set up a website dedicated solely to information pertaining to COVID-19 which can be accessed at http://nyecounty.net/1066/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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